Tomorrow in the 8th Congressional District voters will choose a Democratic nominee between eleven term incumbent Jim Moran and challenger Bruce Shuttleworth.
Let's first discuss the incumbent.
There have been a number of personal allegations thrown at Moran during his time in office, including assaulting a child (who Moran said was trying to carjack him), allegations of abuse with his now ex-wife, and even a newspaper report of two women fighting on his front lawn on his birthday. I don't take any of this into account with Moran because we don't know what is true and what is not.
There are other issues with Moran that we do know about that trouble me much more than the personal stuff. The $25,000 unsecured loan from a drug lobbyist. More recently his relationship with Paul Magliocchetti, a defense lobbyist currently in prison for sending hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions to members of Congress. Melissa Koloszar, Moran's former Chief of Staff worked for Magliocchetti and started her own firm after his indictment with some of the same clients she was working with before. Moran has put in numerous earmarks for Melissa's clients since then as a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. When I attempted to get more information on this from Moran's office a couple years ago they stonewalled and tried to hide basic details about the entire situation. If Moran had nothing to hide or be ashamed of here he certainly didn't act like that.
Now as we discuss Moran it's also important to note that he has voted the right way on most issues in Congress, especially recently. He helped found the "New Democrats" when he was elected, and spent his first decade in Congress as a more conservative to moderate type Democrat, but as his district has shifted to be much more liberal, Moran has shifted left with it. Just this weekend at one of the county JJ dinners in his district I heard Moran say that he wasn't just a Democrat, he was a liberal. That's good, although that hasn't always been the case.
One other issue that troubles me about Moran is how he treats his seat and the perks that come with it as a family business. He has two family members on his campaign payroll currently. CREW had a report about members of Congress that do this- it's unethical and should be outlawed. Speaking of family, Moran has worked hard to position his brother Brian Moran as his replacement whenever he retires. Brian is currently both the Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, and the head of government affairs for the for-profit college lobby that President Obama is working hard to crack down on.
I could go on and on here, but looking at the total picture, I'm open to a primary challenger.
That having been said, Bruce Shuttleworth hasn't done anything in this campaign that tells us much about who he is. His speaking to the Falls Church Republican Committee makes me very nervous about supporting him when he has no other track record of political involvement. Bruce is asking voters- even ones not happy with Moran- to make a huge leap of faith that he someone we can trust with an important vote in Congress in what will probably be a very closely divided chamber after November. I haven't seen anything from Bruce that makes me want to take that leap of faith on his behalf. Bruce says he is a progressive Democrat, but there is no evidence of that whatsoever besides his own words.
So tomorrow, I'm going to go to the polls and vote for the Alexandria City Council and leave my Congressional primary ballot blank.
I'll vote for whichever candidate wins the nomination tomorrow in November because the most important vote that either candidate would cast would be for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker on the first day of the next Congress.
Moran will probably win this with over 80% of the vote, but I don't vote for who I think will win- my vote only goes to people I can believe in. Sadly for this primary tomorrow, that is neither candidate.